The tech industry is usually a key driver to change, but the coronavirus is now derailing large conferences, product unveils and it might even delay the next iPhone.
“This is like a crater in the economic fabric of a community,” said Tameka Kee, an events planner who just had her biggest tech conference of the year cancelled.
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Her story reflects a trend where notable events like SXSW, a fixture in Austin for 34 years straight, are vanishing due to the coronavirus.
Also cancelled: conferences from Google and Facebook originally scheduled for May.
With so many changes, a website has popped up to keep track. Is it cancelled yet? has a list of upcoming tech events and whether they’re still happening. There is also a dash of humor sprinkled in.
“Oddly enough, it’s disrupting the human connection that’s in the tech industry right now. We use those events to build connections and make business happen,” explained Kee.
In response to the outbreak, many tech companies are allowing employees to work from home. When it comes to their platforms, there is new coronavirus policing.
Ebay isn’t allowing some sales of face masks or hand sanitizer to combat price gouging, Facebook has banned ads for some coronavirus related products and Apple is rejecting coronavirus apps that aren’t from health organizations.
One wildcard: the launch of the iPhone 12. Analysts say it could be delayed since Apple engineers can’t make required trips to China for testing.
As for the events, many are turning to virtual reality or online streaming to fill the void.
“You’re able to kind of see each other, but not necessarily breathe on each other,” concluded Kee.
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